Leaders, Advocates and Champions in Diverse Communities
As we move into the second phase of our Agents of Change Scholarship Initiative, we will continue our work to raise scholarship funds that support social work and nursing students from diverse communities, including minority students, students from underrepresented or marginalized communities, first-generation graduate students and students who have overcome adversity to pursue their education.
Providing more opportunities for students with diverse backgrounds and experiences to join the social work and nursing professions is necessary now more than ever. Culturally diverse and competent professionals are needed in clinical services, agency management and policy development who can anticipate emerging issues and lead at the local, national and global levels.
Having diverse voices and perspectives in the classroom also enriches the learning experience, and is an important part of developing students’ cultural competency. Building a student community with a shared vision across lines of difference is a key part of training professionals to work with clients across lines of difference.
The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and Department of Nursing equips a diverse student body with sophisticated training and a high level of cultural competency to work in communities everywhere. Students graduate from our school well-prepared to serve as leaders, advocates and champions for any population.
Supporting Students Who Will Help Others
We provide the most innovative and extensive training for social workers and nurses, and every qualified student should be able to choose USC to receive the highest standard of education regardless of their financial circumstances. It is vital to make more scholarship funds available for as many students as possible and ease the burden of debt as they begin their careers.
Our Agents of Change Scholarship Initiative is a year-long effort to invest in our social work and nursing students. This is one of the most significant ways we can advance the role of social workers and nurses in society, ultimately effecting change in the communities in which they serve.
Meeting a Growing Need
The U.S. Department of Labor projects that by 2024, significantly more social workers and nurses will be needed across the United States, with demand for these professionals growing more rapidly than the average for all professions. This growing need will be driven by anticipated growth in overall population, and as our population grows, it will become increasingly diverse in ethnicity, culture and experience. Nurses and social workers from all backgrounds will meet this need, and they must be able to effectively practice with sensitivity toward patients’ and clients’ backgrounds.
We are unique among schools of social work in our ability to meet the need for diverse and culturally competent social workers and nurses. We are one of only a few elite schools that consistently receive top rankings for both on-campus and online programs, and students in both programs gain access to our internationally recognized faculty and researchers, and to our large network of professionals. We also offer the most diverse selection of opportunities for applied study, with more than 6,000 agency and institutional partners across the country.
You Can Make a Difference
Research has shown that one of the greatest barriers to more diversity in social work education, and subsequently, the social work profession, is money. Many prospective students cannot afford their training, or find they are unable to finish their program because they cannot take time off from working to attend school.
So we are asking all members of our community—alumni, parents and friends—to join us in supporting our students by making a gift in support of scholarships. You can choose from a variety of scholarship funds that provide financial support to students from diverse communities:
- The Barbara Solomon Endowed Scholarship is awarded to first-year African-American MSW students who have an expressed interest in working within the African-American community.
- The Latino Scholarship Endowed Fund is awarded to Latinx MSW students with outstanding academic merit.
- The LGBTQ Scholarship Fund is awarded to students studying in the MSW, DSW and MSN programs who have demonstrated a commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and queer (LGBTQ) issues through academic accomplishments, community involvement and/or other personal contributions.
- The Nishimoto Endowed Scholarship is awarded to first-year Asian Pacific MSW students with a commitment to the Asian Pacific Islander community.
- The Nursing Scholarship Fund awards scholarships on a need basis to MSN students from various backgrounds and experiences.
- The Social Work General Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to MSW students from various backgrounds and experiences on both a need and merit basis, including DACA-recipient students, Native students and students who have demonstrated commitment to the social work profession and to the lives of others.
Gifts of all sizes will make a difference and contribute to our overall goal of providing more scholarship opportunities to more students. Members of our giving society, the Advocates Circle, will receive additional courtesies in recognition of their support, including complimentary and discounted access to our newly expanded career services, professional development and CEU events.
We are grateful for your support and commitment to our students, and your dedication to preparing them to address the many complex challenges that our society faces today. Together, we can make the world a better place!